Like most functions in recent months, this year’s Digital FUTURES, which is held annually since 2011 at Tongji University in Shanghai, had to move online due to the pandemic. The organizers took this as an opportunity to give the event a global dimension, turning the festival into what they rightfully call the most significant worldwide event for architectural education ever staged, with a 24/7 display of workshops, lectures and panel discussions involving some of the most prominent architects and educators. Here is an overview of the festival, together with a selection of lectures from Digital FUTURES World.
Eth Zurich: The Latest Architecture and News
Digital Fabrication in Architecture & Design Webinar with Fabio Gramazio, Jorge Lopes, and Barbara Iseli
Digital fabrication is a manufacturing process that uses a machine controlled by computers. This method has sparked the interest of architects and product designers, as it opens the door to new possibilities in terms of solving complex processes and new approaches for mass construction.
The annual QS- Quacquarelli Symonds ranking for top universities has been unveiled. Based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact, the ranking highlights every year the best universities for each profession. In the 2020 Architecture/ Built Environment division, the list reveals that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is back on top.
MVRDV in collaboration with Airbus, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, ETH Zurich, and Systra, is developing a plan for the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The investigation tackles the integration of “flying vehicles” into our urban environments and envisions a comprehensive mobility concept.
Peru is home to a wide range of new cultural architecture. Strongly tied to the country’s megadiverse geography, Peru’s modern projects reinterpret past building techniques. Taking inspiration from the vernacular and varied landscapes, these contemporary buildings arise from long traditions rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations.
With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2cm, remains load bearing and simultaneously sustainable. Inspired by the construction of Catalan vaults, this new floor system swaps reinforced steel bars for narrow vertical ribs, thus significantly reducing the weight of construction and ensuring stability to counter uneven distributions on its surface.
As opposed to traditional concrete floors that are evidently flat, these slabs are designed to arch to support major loads, reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings found in Gothic cathedrals. Without the need for steel reinforcing and with less concrete, the production of CO2 is minimized and the resulting 2cm floors are 70% lighter than their typical concrete counterparts.
ETH Zurich has unveiled details of “Concrete Choreography,” an installation recently inaugurated in Riom, Switzerland. The installation presents the first robotically 3D printed concrete stage, consisting of columns fabricated without formwork, and printed to their full height in 2.5 hours. The process is expected to greatly improve the efficiency of concrete construction while achieving the fabrication of complex components.
CANactions is an educational platform, aimed to enhance the creation of places and communities where people love to live and work. CANactions integrates the most relevant world experience in the sphere of architecture and urbanism to educate and inspire responsibility active change makers. CANactions is a member of Future Architecture Platform.
This year, the 12th CANactions International Architecture Festival will be focused on an exploration of a notion of "Hromada" — Ukrainian name for the Community.
ETH Zurich, working in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group (ZHCODE) and Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex) have unveiled a 3D-knitted shell serving as the primary shaping element for curved concrete structures.
The “KnitCandela” prototype represents the first application of this technology at an architectural scale, a five-tonne concrete structure on display at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City.
The advent of robotics in the creative and construction industries has led to an amazing revolution, changing not just how things are designed and made, but also transforming knowledge cultures, politics and economics that surround them. As such, the ROB|ARCH 2018 conference – hosted by the NCCR Digital Fabrication and ETH Zurich – will continue this path, developing and revealing novel insights, applications and impacts of this transformation within the scientific, creative, and entrepreneurial domains, including, for example, architecture, structural design, civil and process engineering, art and design, and robotics. A particular focus lies upon cross-disciplinary approaches and applications, providing state-of-the-art knowledge, techniques and methods of robotics not just in individual areas of exploration, but also beyond. These ideals aspire to complement the transformation processes of emerging robotic research and applications, and to redefine cross-disciplinary work in an era of global digitalisation and knowledge transfer. Key topics and issues of ROB|ARCH 2018 include autonomous control systems, advanced construction, collaborative design tools, computerised materials and structures, adaptive sensing and actuation, on-site and cooperative robotics, machine-learning, human-machine interaction, large-scale robotic fabrication and networked workflows.
Complex designs often require bulky structural systems to support imaginative forms. But 3D printing technology has begun to provide unlimited architectural potential without compromising design or structural durability. Researchers at ETH Zurich, under the leadership of Benjamin Dillenburger, have now developed an innovative 3D sand printing technique that allows for quick molding and material reuse.
They have used this technique to create a formwork to fabricate an 80 square meter lightweight concrete slab at the DFAB House, the first and largest construction of its kind. The “Smart Slab,” which carries a two-story timber unit above it, merges the structural durability and strength of concrete with the design liberation of 3D printing.
Digital technology has broken into the timber construction scene at ETH Zurich, where a research team is using programmed robots to construct load-bearing timber modules. These modules are being used to stabilize the top two levels of their DFAB HOUSE project, a three-story residential unit located in Dübendorf, which aims to bring a variety of digital construction methods together under one roof.
Global higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has revealed its rankings of the world’s top universities for the study of Architecture / Built Environment for 2018. The eight edition of the survey compared 2,122 institutions across the globe offering courses in architecture or the built environment, narrowing down the list based on criteria including academic and employer reputation.
For the fourth straight year, MIT has topped the rankings, once again coming out ahead of the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Read on for the full rankings.
Materials researchers from the Block Research Group at the ETH Zurich, together with architects supermanoeuvre, have revealed a prototype for an ultra-thin, sinuous concrete roof system with an average thickness of just 5 centimeters. Using digital design and fabrication technologies, the team was able to calculate and construct a self-supporting shell structure using the minimal necessary material. This was facilitated through the use of a novel formwork system consisting of a net of steel cables and a polymer fabric stretched into a reusable scaffolding structure.
Global higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released in 2017 rankings of the world’s top universities for the study of Architecture & Built Environment. This year, for the seventh edition of the survey, QS has expanded the ranking to list the world’s top 200 schools, including institutions across all six inhabited continents.
Aerial Futures, Grounded Visions: Shaping the Airport Terminal of Tomorrow was a two-day symposium held in October 2016 as part of the European Cultural Center's collateral event at the 2016 Venice Biennale. It encouraged discussion about the future of air travel from the perspectives of architecture, design, technology, culture and user experience. The event featured presentations and discussions by the likes of airport architect Curtis Fentress, Nelly Ben Yahoun, Donald Albrecht, Director of the Museum of the City of New York; Anna Gasco, post-doctoral researcher at the ETH-Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore; Jonathan Ledgard, co-founder of the Droneport Project; and Ashok Raiji, Principal at Arup New York.
On June 11th, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, also known as Manifesta, began its 100-day stint in this edition's host city, Zurich, Switzerland. The festival's center-piece is a timber raft floating on Lake Zurich, known as the Pavilion of Reflections. The temporary structure was designed and realized by Studio Tom Emerson and a team of thirty students from ETH Zurich. Constructed primarily of timber, Christian Jankowski, curator of Manifesta 11, describes the exhibit “as a floating multi-functional platform with a giant LED screen, a stand for spectators, a swimming pool and a bar.”